THE BIRTH OF RINGETTE WALAPAIS
Year 1980 Merja Hedman (age 16 at the time) readed an article from Seura-Magazine, written by the Lion’s Club. The article was written about ringette and how there will be a promotional ringette event to be held at Citymarket at Itäkeskus. At Itäkeskus there were exactly 3 interested people present, who were Merja Hedman, Eeva Hynynen and Jorma Lehmus.
At the event Seppo Helle showed canadian ringette promotion video. Later on, all those who had attended the event were given ringette rings. Afterwards Jorma Lehmus founded ’Vantaan Ringette’ named club in Tikkurila area and Merja Hedman founded ’Ringette Walapais’ in Myyrmäki area.
In the beginning Walapais practiced on the outside ice nearby Martinlaakso’s school. Occasionally practice were held also on the outside ices at Myyrmäki and at Myllymäki. In the beginning as sticks acted hockey sticks, with blades sawn-off and which were painted white, red and blue.
The team attended in their very first tournament in 4.-5.4.1981 in Uusikaupunki. As a team acted the team of Merchant’s Business School of Helsinki, where Merja Hedman was studying at the time. Hence some players were students of the Business School.
Amongst the girls already on board, it was decided, that for the club name – all traditional options would be ruled out – and that the name had to be somehow associated with Canada. Thus I (Merja Markkanen) and Merja Hedman enthusiastically rode our bicycles to the library of Martinlaakso to find books about indians. There we excitedly searched for the names of native indian tribes.
Eventually we found an indian tribe called Walapai. We added an additional letter ’s’ to the end, so it would sound better. Through our history we have always had to explain the origins of the name to different people. First version of the logo was drawn by Merja Hedman, inspired by the very same book.
Ringette Walapais was founded 13th of September 1981 at the Sports Hall of Myyrmäki. Attendees present were Merja Liikanen, Eeva Hynynen, Merja Markkanen, Terhi Karanen, and Jorma Lehmus. Pekka Oey was then chosen as the Club Chairman.
As most of the founding members were under-aged, Pekka Oey was chosen to be the Club Chairman. Pekka was a older brother of one of the players (Sarinah Oey) and over eighteen, so according to the association-register-legislation, he could be chosen as the Chairman of the Club.
RICH HISTORY OF WALAPAIS
A lot has happened along the now over 35 year history of the club. There has been several moments of success. For example Walapais has achieved silver on national level in 1987, bronze in the years of 1990, 1991, 1992 and 4th positions on the years 1988, 1989 and 1993.
Players of the club Pia Pullinen, Jaana Oikarinen and Anneli Levander were members of the Ringette World Championship winning team in 1994. Jaana Oikarinen is also a World Champion in Floorball. Petra Vaarakallio on her behalf has won 3 times finnish hockey national title and has been part of the women’s team who won Olympic bronze medal.
Director of Youth Activities and Development
Finnish Ringette Association
Ringette Walapais ry
gsm. +358 (0) 50 543 1720